Grassroots Cricket: How is the game going in your area?

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ScrappyCoCo

Premiership Player
Jul 5, 2014
3,252
2,997
AFL Club
Essendon
Our club is flying. 5 senior teams, between 2 to 4 vet teams over the last few years, 18 junior teams last year. 10 years ago we only had a few junior teams but hard work from our junior committee, and the fact we offer under 15 and under 17 turf competition (which I have been told there is not many junior turf comps around apart from private school) means we have kids travelling from afar to play. We have to knock back plenty. I think we have about 20 that have gone through our juniors playing premier cricket atm.
 
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Kyptastic

Premiership Player
Oct 4, 2010
4,870
3,959
Anywhere but here
AFL Club
Essendon
I think we’re going the way of a few mega-clubs in the ECA here in Melbourne. Edinburgh playing out of Brunswick Oval and have about 6 teams with heaps of juniors. I expect that the two Richmond teams will merge in the next couple of years and that’ll be another 6-8 team club. Smaller clubs seem to be on the way out though.
 

Tom Daniels

Club Legend
Jul 31, 2016
2,118
1,308
Adelaide
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Adelaide United~Woking Southampton
My club currently has 3 senior teams, alongside a T20 comp played on weeknights sporadically throughout the season. We also have an U10 and U12 side, but the season just gone we didnt field either a U14 or U16 side.
 

Richard Pryor

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 6, 2013
8,213
10,731
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Another article on the double counting:
At 15-years-old, Kunj Changela spends up to 20 hours a week either training for or playing cricket, a passion born in his parents' western Sydney backyard.
Kunj currently plays in four teams and appears in the MyCricket database eight times.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts has declined to comment on the Herald story.
The body's acting executive general manager, community cricket Kieran McMillan said the body was working towards getting a closer idea of the number of unique crickets next year once all players registered online.
 
May 24, 2006
53,311
90,932
Car 55
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
Redbacks, Sturt, Liverpool, Arizona
Cricket Australia fires back

To our valued club and association volunteers,

Many of you will have read articles over the past few days by respected journalist, Malcolm Knox, regarding Cricket Australia’s annual cricket participation census. Whilst I disagree with the conclusions reached and the figures provided by Malcolm, what came through clearly to me was the sense that some within the cricket community don’t feel they are being heard.

We acknowledge that the number of registered players in traditional club environments has experienced a gradual decline over the past few years, even though total cricket participation continues to grow at a healthy rate.

Cricket clubs, like all club sport, face retention challenges in an increasingly time-poor society. As a volunteer, I also appreciate that leading a cricket club is becoming harder and new volunteers are not always lining up to help the club stalwarts. The commitment to supporting volunteers and making sure the game has a successful and sustainable future is one of Australian cricket’s top priorities under my leadership.

I understand it will take more than a letter from me to make everything better. It’s on me to lead ongoing consultation and action from all of us at Cricket Australia and the State & Territory Cricket Associations who serve their communities.

We need to maximise the impact of the millions of dollars we’ve committed to improving community cricket facilities and the 68 new community cricket staff employed by State & Territory Cricket Associations to support clubs and volunteers.

In recent years, we introduced modified junior formats to improve recruitment and retention, started offering free community cricket coaching programs and invested in growing cricket for girls. These commitments are starting to bear fruit. Providing improved digital support to reduce volunteer workload is another key focus into the future.

Having spent most of my life in cricket clubs as a player, coach, volunteer and parent, I’m passionate about clubs being the heart and soul of their communities.
The initiatives I mentioned above are a positive step in the right direction, and we will continue to engage and listen to cricket communities, even if we don’t like what we hear.

As always, Malcolm Knox’s recent articles made various pertinent points. On the other hand, it was unfortunate that the Sydney Morning Herald data analysis was inaccurate, presenting a distorted view of cricket’s health. I enjoy Malcolm’s writing and wish he was able to take up my offer of a detailed conversation on Monday. I was returning home from the UK at the time, however the SMH opted to publish on Sunday.

It’s important to note that MyCricket only houses the competitions of around half of the teams from which registered players are calculated. By only counting individuals listed on MyCricket, SMH ignored those competitions not administered on that platform.

These include school competitions, indoor cricket competitions, other competitions outside traditional club structures and kids in the Woolworths Cricket Blast program. All of these are included in the total registered player number of 684,356 that we reported.

For all competitions within and beyond the MyCricket database, we calculate registered players by multiplying the actual number of teams by an estimated number of players per team over a season.

For example, we estimate that each traditional senior club team utilises a total of 15 players in a season. People involved in running clubs know that many teams call on more than 15 players in a season to get a team on the park every week, so the estimate of 15 players per team is very reasonable.

As an independent validation, Sport Australia’s survey of the Australian population (using a different methodology) revealed that 798,000 adults and children played organised cricket outside of school hours at least once in the past year.

Within school hours, our school participation programs are a high priority and they represent the biggest segment of cricket’s participation base. In 2018/19, our various school programs provided rich cricket experiences to almost one million Australian kids in over 65% of Australian primary schools. We aspire to give all primary school kids a cricket experience in the long term and increase the number of kids playing cricket in teams beyond the playground.

When combining school participation programs and registered players, we reach the total participation figure of 1.65 million. Whilst this does include some players more than once, like my daughter who plays club and indoor cricket, it’s simply not true to suggest that total participation is inflated by double-counting most or all registered players. We are proud of cricket’s deep connection with local communities and the fact that cricket plays a part in the lives of so many participants across the country.

Like most organisations, we are working to improve our data. Junior clubs will have noticed this with all registrations being managed online this season, a process which makes it much easier for parents and players to register anytime, anywhere.

I have had the privilege of meeting many of cricket’s employees, players and volunteers throughout my lifetime of involvement in cricket.

Cricket has helped shape who we are, and in some cases, has seen us become friends for life. Your passion and commitment to the game are key reasons why cricket is such a strong part of our nation’s fabric.

You, the Australian cricket community, deserve the full support of Cricket Australia and the State & Territory Cricket Associations. We are absolutely committed to giving you that support in my time as CEO of Cricket Australia.

Yours Sincerely,


KEVIN ROBERTS
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
 

Richard Pryor

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 6, 2013
8,213
10,731
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Cricket Australia fires back
Whole response hinges on this: "These commitments are starting to bear fruit.", a statement that you basically have to take on faith as to whether it has any basis in reality. Seems identitical to the non-response detailed in the article I posted on prev. page:
Mr Spyrdz replied that Cricket NSW’s data showed participation increasing, in contradiction of administrators’ experience, and suggested the problem was theirs. "If you are having communication issues, it appears that that may sit with you and those you are communicating with as there are many within your own cricket community … who appear to be across what is happening. I respectfully disagree we show no respect to volunteers we work with in the community."
Essentially "Saving the cricket club is hard, coming up with easy ways to cook the 'participation' data is easier". Nothing but a hand wave, and laughable that he dismisses concerns about their data collection by citing more data. "Sure MyCricket may be bs, but our data with even less oversight is totally reliable enough to mean this is all nothing".

Another statement which seems to have no actual qualifiers or anything backing it up is "it’s simply not true to suggest that total participation is inflated by double-counting most or all registered players.", if you're going to say that I think you kind of have to prove it.

Poor response.
 
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May 24, 2006
53,311
90,932
Car 55
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
Redbacks, Sturt, Liverpool, Arizona
Are the numbers fake to get free government money?
Sports do get funding from the Australian Sports Commission (or whatever it's called now) and the bigger sports get more. There's Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 etc. There is some sort of per capita funding but I'm not sure it's directly linked to participation numbers/growth

I think it more likely to be positive spin to lure sponsors and also managers at every level looking to cover themselves with glory.

It's hard to measure the job performance of development staff. What is measurable when you're running competitions, coaching courses, supporting clubs, associations and volunteers...? What measures are there to recognise performance? Hard to do whereas player numbers can be measured.
 

darthbards

Premiership Player
May 17, 2015
3,833
4,556
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Club rule is that instead of having throwdowns before going out to bat, you have to drink throwdowns before you go out to bat.
I was playing in the Mercantile Cricket Assosiation many years ago,and our D Grade side would play a side,Bournawatha,that used to do exactly that. Other notable things the guys would tell me is..they chose the club name by throwing a dart at a map of Victoria,they selected the side by drawing names out of a hat,if you dropped a catch you had to wear a dunces hat until the next catch was dropped,tea break was a bbq that had been cooked by the players not selected...I'm sure there was more but they sounded like a fun buch of blokes.
 

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big_e

Premiership Player
Apr 28, 2008
4,801
12,329
Your Wi-Fi
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Wycombe Wanderers, 76ers
Sports do get funding from the Australian Sports Commission (or whatever it's called now) and the bigger sports get more. There's Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 etc. There is some sort of per capita funding but I'm not sure it's directly linked to participation numbers/growth

I think it more likely to be positive spin to lure sponsors and also managers at every level looking to cover themselves with glory.

It's hard to measure the job performance of development staff. What is measurable when you're running competitions, coaching courses, supporting clubs, associations and volunteers...? What measures are there to recognise performance? Hard to do whereas player numbers can be measured.
Cricket doesn't get much funding from the Sport Commission: https://www.sportaus.gov.au/annual_report/chapter_6/appendix_3_funding_to_sports

They get less than boxing, archery, table tennis, and not much more than touch footy.

Honestly, I think a lot of it is just a pi**ing contest to be "Australia's number one sport".
 

PhatBoy

Brownlow Medallist
May 5, 2016
17,463
18,160
AFL Club
Geelong
I was playing in the Mercantile Cricket Assosiation many years ago,and our D Grade side would play a side,Bournawatha,that used to do exactly that. Other notable things the guys would tell me is..they chose the club name by throwing a dart at a map of Victoria,they selected the side by drawing names out of a hat,if you dropped a catch you had to wear a dunces hat until the next catch was dropped,tea break was a bbq that had been cooked by the players not selected...I'm sure there was more but they sounded like a fun buch of blokes.
Lol the very definition of social cricket
 

The Passenger

Mr. Mojo Risin'
Mar 25, 2003
30,528
17,251
Hasa Diga Eebowai
AFL Club
West Coast
CA is in denial about the state of the game. Look how long it took for a cleanout of administrators etc.
I'm not sure if its denial or they just want to keep the gravy train rolling (I'll get to that later on).

They fudged the figures about players, but couldn't fudge it on the number of clubs that have decreased.

It is possible clubs decrease and players increase, but in reality we know it doesn't work like that and not on the scales they tried to sell.

In short, they got completely caught out and I really hope Malcolm Knox drives the screws in.

I'm no longer living in Oz, but am in close contact with a lot of my old cricket mates and every single one is saying numbers are down significantly in their local competitions compared to a decade ago usually by around as much as half. Even more concerning is they are telling me there are little youngsters coming through, so the numbers will drop off dramatically again once blokes of my vintage (mid 30's) pull the pin, which is not far off.

The junior competitions are even in worse shape. Take Dave Warner and Usman Khawaja's old club Sydney Coastal. Now they only fields teams up to Under 12's and although their website indicates it has 8 teams, its a lot of the same teams and players playing across multiple competitions (I can't tell if these multiple competitions are a bit of a deliberate tactic from CA or just a fortunate happenstance to give an illusion of strong playing numbers). Compared to two decades Coastal had teams in every division up to Under 16's and were extremely strong right to their core - not just at the top end with kids like Dave and Usman. That competition (South Eastern) from Under 13's upwards has now been merged with an inner west competition due to low player numbers and now has less teams in each division than those two competitions had individually in the late 90's. http://sydneycoastal.nsw.cricket.com.au/default.aspx?

Cricket in Australia is in a serious problem, but the aforementioned gravy train keeps rolling on so those at the top don't want to confront it because why rock the boat? And trust me, I can tell you all about the gravy train from which I've received a little bit of benefit over the years. As an example every test match CA and the respective state boards lays on all you can eat and drink seats in corporate boxes for dozens and dozens of administrators from their local area. At the SCG there is about 100 of these tickets for every day of the test and ODI's that probably set them back about $500 a head.

Some of the beneficiaries of these sort of perks range from extremely hard working people for whom I don't begrudge getting a free day on the squirt and watching some test cricket and in fact thoroughly deserve these rewards, but does also include a lot of men and women who are borderline useless and even some who are complete negative influences on their respective clubs. I was Facebook mates with a bloke who posts photos from the SCG test every year sitting in a box getting it all laid on - this bloke was well known to be taking from the till at his club - and not just the odd $10 note here and there - but no one could prove it and because he was perceived as a good bloke (I've known this bloke since I was 10 and thought he was dickhead from day one) the management just shrugged their shoulders. They eventually removed him from any financial responsibility but he is still a relatively high up and puts himself front and centre for all the perks that come to the grade clubs - i.e. test tickets, rubbing shoulders with big whigs etc. This guy is the very definition of a weasel.
 
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revo333

Club Legend
Jan 7, 2018
1,459
1,323
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Some clubs in my area can get 5-6 senior teams while others struggle to get 3 up and running.

The clubs with more senior teams usually have a better reputation and a solid junior set up and teams in every junior grade.

One change in the last 5 seasons i have noticed is not many clubs are recruiting overseas anymore, if it does happen now it's usually a player bringing back a mate they played with in the UK and the club will give him a job for the summer to make some money. I know a few clubs who spent a fair bit of money trying to recruit overseas talent and never had anything to show for it.
 

The_Todd07

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 8, 2008
6,816
6,819
Geelong
AFL Club
Geelong
Other Teams
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My club has had a consistent 7 teams for the best part of a decade, but will probably lose 1 in the next few years.
The main issue is that fewer guys have the desire or availability to play 2 day cricket.
There would be issues filling the spots in our top 4 grades but plenty to fill the 3 one day teams.
1 or 2 traditionally big clubs in the league are now just managing to fill the necessary 4 teams
 

Peter Bixley

Rookie
Jul 7, 2019
25
32
AFL Club
Melbourne
If you think that the talent pool may be drying up in Australia then you should see the state of it in England. International cricket has been behind the subscription-fee television pay-wall for 14 years now and clubs are closing down left, right and centre. Most schoolkids apparently cannot identify Joe Root or Alastair Cook. The hope is that the World Cup success will rekindle interest amongst the masses and kids but it will likely be just flash-in-the-pan. The England team is survived by overseas players given UK passports, posh kids from privileged schools and the Asian community. The game is no longer played in state schools.
 

Santana

Premiership Player
Feb 28, 2008
3,029
989
........
If you think that the talent pool may be drying up in Australia then you should see the state of it in England. International cricket has been behind the subscription-fee television pay-wall for 14 years now and clubs are closing down left, right and centre. Most schoolkids apparently cannot identify Joe Root or Alastair Cook. The hope is that the World Cup success will rekindle interest amongst the masses and kids but it will likely be just flash-in-the-pan. The England team is survived by overseas players given UK passports, posh kids from privileged schools and the Asian community. The game is no longer played in state schools.
Just because the game may be in further trouble behind the scenes there isn't any reason to feel any better about the state of the game here. The talent pool is well and truly drying up here and there is a lot more competition form other sports nowadays. Not to mention the state of the national team won't be helping getting kids into the sport.

One thing you are forgetting also is that the ECB have been better at developing what talent they have than CA for a while now.
 

Themanbun

Club Legend
Apr 19, 2019
1,144
3,252
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Main issue facing my league is the refusal to move from the 12:30-6pm model. I know at least ten blokes who would still be playing if it were 10:00-3:30pm. Still gives them the night to spend with family, etc.
 

Santana

Premiership Player
Feb 28, 2008
3,029
989
........
Do you have enough grounds to play both juniors and seniors at the same time though?

Unless you move one to Sunday but it couldn't be seniors as I don't see too many older blokes wanting to back up playing cricket with work the next day. And how many juniors will want to play both days taking up most of their weekend?
 

Peter Bixley

Rookie
Jul 7, 2019
25
32
AFL Club
Melbourne
Just because the game may be in further trouble behind the scenes there isn't any reason to feel any better about the state of the game here. The talent pool is well and truly drying up here and there is a lot more competition form other sports nowadays. Not to mention the state of the national team won't be helping getting kids into the sport.

One thing you are forgetting also is that the ECB have been better at developing what talent they have than CA for a while now.
No, my point is that this is a wider problem than just in Australia.

The ECB has a lot of money to throw at nurturing talent but my point was about cricket slipping from the mainstream and the talent available being sourced from other places. Australia has to find a way to increase the talent pool as numbers of participants dwindle.

England might well have won the World Cup and had a decent two days in this test match but, like all teams, still struggle away from home. For all the failings of the 1990s team, they didn't suffer two 5-0s and a 4-0 in three of their last four visits to Australia. I'd say their cricketing stocks are comparable to Australia's.
 

Bareth Garry

Senior List
Jan 20, 2014
192
127
AFL Club
Adelaide
Country areas in South Australia have suffered.

More and more 14-21 year olds are moving to Adelaide for their last few years of school, further study, apprenticeships, work.

Senior cricket teams in the country often have very old and very young players but nothing in between. Dads and their sons. No 20 something adults. Or even 30 something.
I live in the UK and there is something very similar here but with a caveat.

People who played the game through their youth, then embrace the exuberance of being young adults and carefree, then hit their 30s in no time and decide to settle down in their career and personal life. A lot return to playing the game. This applies to football (soccer) as well which is by far the most popular sport.

You have to give up a lot of time to play sport when you take into account travelling, training hours, and match time. I think what it is guys who spent most Saturdays/Sundays playing sport in their youth and being in an environment of having a constant routine just relish the freedom of adulthood to do other things. To not have to train on a Thursday night, to not have to wake up early on a Sunday morning, to not have to travel long journeys just to lose badly.

But there's only so long you can go to nightclubs, getting drunk and/or high, and generally drift around with no responsibility before it sinks in you're getting older and ought to have some structure in your life again. That's when going back to sport is becoming popular at 30+ in UK because now as an adult you can enjoy the game and get physical activity but also enjoy the socialising that comes with it.
 

TheWoodenSlug

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 24, 2008
5,650
10,914
AFL Club
Geelong
Really struggling here in country Vic. Our league has about half the teams it had 20 years ago when I was coming through the juniors.

Our club alone had an A grade, A reserve, B grade, B reserve, C grade, Under 16 and Under 14 team back then - now it has merged with 3 other teams and between them only have an A grade and a B grade (and a C grade that has broken off and gone alone).
 
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